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Job creation tops agenda as UNWTO marks World Tourism Day 2019

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Kajuru Castle, one of the major tourists attractions in Nigeria

Tourism’s potential to build a “better future for all” is the central message of World Tourism Day 2019, which has been officially celebrated at a high-level summit in New Delhi.

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, was joined by World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili to mark the global observation day aimed at raising awareness of the tourism sector’s social, cultural and economic value and its unique contribution to the Sustainable Development Agenda.

Held as UNWTO recognizes 2019 as its year of “Employment, Skills and Jobs”, representatives of more than 100 countries came together in New Delhi to recognize and celebrate the sector’s ability to create more and better jobs, including for women, youth and minorities. At present, tourism accounts for 10% of global GDP and provides around one in 10 jobs worldwide.

Given this, India, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, was identified as the ideal host for World Tourism Day 2019, and the presence of Vice President highlighted the country’s commitment to UNWTO’s mandate to guide the sector’s growth in a sustainable and responsible manner.

Opening the event, Mr Pololikashvili said, “The true potential of tourism, both as a creator of jobs and as a driver of equality and sustainable development, is only just being realized. Providing decent work opportunities and contributing to developing professional skills are at the heart of this, and so on World Tourism Day 2019, we call on nations and public and private sector stakeholders around the world to ensure the many benefits that come with rising tourist arrivals are shared as widely as possible.”

M. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India, added, “India is committed to culture and tourism. Tourism means transformation. It can benefit people and is a tool for the empowerment of communities. Progress, harmony and peace: this is our shared goal, and tourism can help us reach it.”

The opening ceremony, which saw the best of the sector recognized through the Indian National Tourism Awards, was followed by a special workshop on Tourism Jobs of the Future, with a special focus on helping small enterprises and entrepreneurs scale-up their ideas to disrupt the sector and promote sustainability and inclusivity.

The importance of innovation was further emphasized during the World Tourism Day 2019 Plenary event. With the theme of “Maximizing Tourism’s Potential to Create More and Better Jobs,” this featured contributions from public and private sector leaders and was moderated CNN International anchor Andrew Stevens.

Also within the framework of World Tourism Day, UNWTO’s Affiliate Members – an international network comprising civil society organisations, private sector stakeholders, NGOs and academia – held the “Outlook Responsible Tourism Initiative”, a workshop aimed at helping the private sector work more closely with the UN agency to enhance sustainable and responsible tourism practices.

This workshop in New Delhi was the first time UNWTO’s Affiliate Members have participated in an official World Tourism Day event, reinforcing the organization’s commitment to building closer ties with its private sector partners.

Meanwhile, The EBRD and the UNWTO are joining forces to strengthen sustainable and inclusive tourism as a tool for achieving growth and development.

Under an MoU signed by EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti and UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili at the UNWTO Headquarters in Madrid, the two institutions pledge to work together in promoting and fostering tourism for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. The MoU is also aligned with the new property and tourism strategy the EBRD published yesterday.

In particular, the EBRD and UNWTO are looking for ways to strengthen the role of the tourism sector for social, economic and environmental development for regional integration and economic diversification.

Fostering education and training in tourism for job creation and socio-economic inclusion, by adopting the best practices to increase and improve skill sets in the sector, is a key priority for both the EBRD and UNWTO.

The two institutions will also look to strengthen tourism governance and institutions, promote policy dialogue at the national and regional level on matters of common concern, facilitate investments and advocate for the increase of Official Development Aid flows to the tourism sector, including through UNWTO.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili commented, “Tourism has become a central part of the global sustainable development agenda. Strengthening our partnership with the EBRD will help us drive the sector forward, deliver change in the tourism climate and digital economy and help guide the growth of tourism in a responsible and inclusive manner for the benefit of all. We are happy to be your tourism intelligence and action partner.”

EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti said, “I am very delighted to be working with UNWTO to promote sustainable and inclusive tourism across the EBRD regions. Travel and tourism represent a vitally important and fast-growing sector of the global economy and can benefit poorer, more remote regions, opening up job opportunities, promoting economic inclusion for all and facilitating the transfer of valuable skills. These are all objectives central to the EBRD’s mission.”

The EBRD and UNWTO are longstanding partners. In 2015, the two institutions signed an agreement in the framework of the EBRD’s commitment to supporting inclusive and sustainable tourism in the economies where the Bank invests, particularly in the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region and the Western Balkans.


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